As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look. 1 Peter 1:10-12
Peter has given us our encouragement by telling us what we are looking forward to – our inheritance of eternal life. Then he has told us the truth of what is coming in the short term – trials and distress that will be opportunities for us to grow and to show our belief in Christ in how we respond. No he is bringing us back again to the joy we can find in realizing that God had worked all of this out a long time ago.
Peter refers to the prophecies given in what we now call the Old Testament. Those receiving this letter would know the prophecies. They had grown up going to the temple and hearing them read on the Sabbath. They had heard all about how to look for the signs of the coming Messiah. They missed it, but they knew about it.
The prophets had worked through their interactions with God to give the specifics that God had for the Jewish people to recognize their Messiah, but the people had misinterpreted the message. They saw the Messiah as one who would come and be victorious immediately rule. They didn’t realize that there would be a gap of over 2,000 years between the victory and the rule of the Messiah! He won the victory with His death, burial and resurrection. Now we wait for His return to rule.
Think of the intricacies involved in the fulfillment of the birth of Christ. The virgin, the star, the manger, the shepherds, the city of Bethlehem. Then look at how his death was described as well. There were so many things that had to happen for Christ to fulfill the prophecies, and He fulfilled every one of them! Just another example of the miraculous that is Christ! God’s plan fulfilled against all odds.
Peter then tells them that the prophets did this work for them. It is intended for them to look at what has been fulfilled in the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ and to have faith that if all of these things came to pass, then we can also look ahead to what is coming! The return of Christ and His eternal rule.
The prophecies were not intended to just be a story, but as the proof that people would need in order to see their need for Christ for their salvation. Christ brought us salvation, and that gift was given freely to all who believe in Him, and the Apostles are now focused on giving that same gift to all who hear and believe. It is also an encouragement to get those who have heard to share. Why not? Look at what we have been given! It has been vetted through the prophets, and we can share it with others without doubts.
At the very end of this passage it refers to things that angels would long to see. I would like to study this more one day, but I will accept for now that it means one of two things, either the angels long for some type of salvation for the angels that fell with Satan, or that they simply do not understand in their observations why God would do such a thing for us. We are weak, and we are foolish. Why would God do this for us? I guess you can answer it with the fact that He loves us and wants us in relationship with Him. Still, this might just be one of those questions I will have to wait to ask.